Sunday, September 30, 2012

Uganda 2012...the last thousand words

Compassion boys...Julius, Hassan, Emma, Timothy

Grateful mama

Teaching the Human Knot to Compassion boys

Meeting Joseline & Rogers

Meeting Julius's brother

Boys come to VBS dressing in their best

Sweet baby

Big hearted Captain

VBS - what a joy

Dot...just like her dad

VBS Singing

VBS Crafts

Everybody loves a camera

amazing smiles
many beautiful
Hundreds, but really a group of one's

a beautiful one

another one

beautiful ONE


The most difficult goodbye.....Abbo Olivia

Monday, August 13, 2012

Uganda 2012...a needle in a haystack!

Its our final day in Uganda and we headed out with one single purpose, to find a 9 year old boy named Daniel.  One of our team members, Nicole, is his sponsor and she was so praying that she would get to meet him.  The ministry headquarters is very near us, but could not provide help in finding him, so all she had was a prayer and in faith bought rice and beans and we all pulled together a backpack with a toy, stickers, dresses and shirts for the family.  We gathered around the van this morning asking God to guide us to him.  Like a needle in a haystack, really. She had his sponsor card showing his neighborhood name, but seriously there is no rhyme or reason to these American urbanites, so we depended on Annette who had offered to escort us and help in our journey, as Chris our van driver took us to the general area.  We were told "good luck finding him".  Luck?  We don't need luck, we asked God to show us and we were not to be discouraged.  At one point we stopped  to show the picture she had of the boy to a teenager standing on the side of the road.  "Do you know him?"  "YES!"  "Do you know where he lives?"  "Yes!" WHAT????  Will you show us "Yes!"  He was so excited to help, he jumped in our van and showed us the way.  We drove as far as we could and walked the rest of the way to a brick and mud home tucked a bit away.
We got there and she asked for Daniel.  He came out, but was thoroughly confused by 8 white people showing up at his remote home.  Through Annette, he was told that she was his sponsor for school.  He was hesitant and unsure until she showed him the card with his picture.  Finally he understood and it was a party from there on.

 His mother was retrieved from her work in the "garden" and we were all invited into her home. 7 of her 9 children were there along with all of us and each child was so excited to receive something from the backpack. The girls got pillow case dresses, the boys received shirts.

 The notes were read to them and each pocket held a piece of candy.  There was such joy, such celebration and to think that more than anything she could give, to come so far to find him and bless him in the name of Jesus, was AMAZING!   As only God can do, we were so so thankful that the Lord led us right to him.  Do you know how many children were in that small area alone?   Did you see the pictures from VBS?  Did you read that nearly 800 children gathered near in that one small village?  It was a miracle, that God would show us such favor is just humbling and so so wonderful.  Nicole will never forget this day, Daniel will never forget this visit and we will never be able to forget how much the creator loves us!

We left the area, drove back to Jinja and made a purchase for the village of Kakira.  Then sat a while, shopped a small bit, enjoyed a Coke Zero and a chocolate bar and then decided to end the day with a hoot and a hollar!  Sending Chris, our driver, back to the hotel with our purses and supplies, we hopped on the back of a Boda Boda, 2 of us on each one, scrambled for the $1.00 each that it cost and rode off into the sunset!  What a thrill! FYI...every time we do something a little risky, they blame me.  Don't you believe it for a minute...those girls were all about the Boda Boda! Crocodiles and the camping in the wild?  Maybe not so much!


Uganda, we leave you at 9am tomorrow morning, just 16 hours from now.  You have been gracious to us, your people so welcoming and appreciative.  We pray the God who sees us all and brought us to serve with you here will keep you until we meet again.  If it is in eternity, we'll be the ones standing in on your worship singing "Higher Higher Higher"  

Revelation 7: "After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.And they were shouting with a great roar,
“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne
    and from the Lamb!”
 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God.  They sang!
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
    and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength belong to our God"
    forever and ever! Amen.”

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Uganda 2012 Day 12...Goodbyes

Today is Sunday and we headed into Kakira for the last time. Our arms bursting with all of the extra clothing, VBS supplies, shoes and a small gift for each of the 21 men and ladies that helped us with VBS this week.  I stayed up late and then again this morning writing notes to the most special to my heart.  Wrapping things in brown paper and black plastic bags so that others could not tell what was being carried.  I have learned since being here that Janet who has taken in 3 additional children, was the target of some jealousy from inside and outside the church.  If anyone discovers that someone is receiving money from the US, they are suspect and others become very jealous.  I went to Janet's home, it is the bare minimum just like everyone else, but when Olivia and Jesca came to live there and went to school, people knew that money was coming from somewhere.  When Janet goes to the village market on Sunday her prices are higher.  She told me that there just came a time when she had to realize that she must live to please God, and not be concerned with the talk or opinions of man.  This grieves me.  After seeing where they live, 5 people sleeping in a 8 X 8 room, happily, I felt like I wasn't helping enough.  But sending a bit more seems like it would cause a problem for her as well.  I'll be praying for wisdom in this.  
Dann and the Pastor's son Robert led one song during worship this morning.  
There was other music and dancing and the children's choir and a great message. At the end, a cake was brought up made by the Kakira ladies.  They started this business a couple of years ago to earn money for their woman's ministry.  Dann and I were asked to come up and cut the cake, together, like cutting a wedding cake.  We found out later that when a visitor cuts a cake like that, it means you must return to the village...ok then!  
Cutting the cake began the most difficult part of this trip so far.  The beginning of the goodbyes.  Janet. Jesca and Loid, OLIVIA.  I had prepared myself as best I could.  But opening your heart wide just does a thing that cannot be made easier.  I love her so.  And it is clear that she has not held back a thing either.  The longing for 2 years, was not undone in a weeks time.  I believe it is just something I will have to live with, a part of my heart broken and left in Uganda.  God is so good to create in us love that is so deep, so real.  I wouldn't change a thing.  Well water proof mascara would have been a good change this morning.  Hearts have been touched on this trip and not just mine.  Its amazing to take something so unexplainable and watch someone else experience it.  No words are quite right, its just a heart thing.  At least now Dann and I can give each other a knowing look when her name is spoken or we go through the pictures.  
The Pastor of their church had arranged a lunch for us in the village with a few of the leaders of their church.  Never before has a team come to minister to the children of the village and been able to pull it off.  He just kept saying, 700 children under the same roof heard the gospel and with God's nurturing the seeds that have been planted, the impact in Kakira will be huge!  Ah yes, just like our God.  

Tomorrow we are heading out on an adventure of our own making.  There is a boy, named Daniel, who is sponsored by one of our team members.  She has little information about him except his school name, which narrows down his village and a picture of him.  We are taking a woman we have met with us and will scour the area talking to other people, other children, passing out candy and dresses and shirts and doing everything we can to locate him.  She will surprise him with gifts of things we have brought along and some rice and beans for his family.  Please pray we find this little guy named Daniel.  It will be such a treat for everyone and such a surprise for his family.   Can you imagine, they have no idea she is even in the country and she will show up at their home with gifts!  I know, don't you wish you had come just to witness it!  Front row seat we have, yes maam.  Until tomorrow.